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SMILE Your Way to Success – 5 Steps to Employee Engagement

January 28, 2014

Great leaders invest in their people.  Keynote speaker and author Lisa Ryan of Grategy shares 5 steps to building authentic employee engagement in your team.  Make these strategies (…or grategies as Lisa might describe them…) your personal work-style and lifestyle! 
by Lisa Ryan of Grategy
If employees are the lifeblood of your business, how do you insure that your top talent doesn’t become someone else’s best employees?
Start with a S.M.I.L.E.
Let’s consider this five step process for employee engagement, recognition, and retention using the S.M.I.L.E. process.
1. S = START right now. Oftentimes we hear a good idea and then wait until a more convenient time to start.  There is no time like the present, and the more you delay, the less likely you are to take action. As Napoleon Hill, author of “Think and Grow Rich” said, “Do not wait: the time will never be ‘just right’. Start where you stand, and work whatever tools you may have at your command and better tools will be found as you go along.”  Today, commit to one way you can create stronger relationships with your team members.
2. M = Help them find MEANING in their work.   Do your employees feel that they have a job, a career or a calling?  A job is something people go to only to get the paycheck.  A career takes it a little deeper, these people are most likely satisfied with what they do for a living. People who label their work as a calling have significantly higher life- and job-satisfaction scores than those who viewed their work as either a career or as a job. They love what they do and they share their enthusiasm with others.  Those with a calling would choose to do exactly what they are doing, even if they didn’t receive a paycheck.  Help your staff find the significance of what they do and how their efforts impact the overall mission of the company.  Better yet, share with them how what they do impacts the world.
3. I = IDENTIFY creative ways to connect.  Email is quick, easy and efficient; however it doesn’t given the personal touch that is being lost in business today.  Use a variety of additional methods including: in-person visits, post-it notes, letters, notes, small gifts, phone calls, candy, and/or faxes to stay in touch with your team.  Mix it up. Make it a goal to make your employees smile often and you will be rewarded. Remember – the more unique and different your contact, the bigger the payoff in increased commitment and engagement on the job.
4. L = LOOK for additional ways you can be of service. If you notice that a team member is struggling under their workload, pitch in and help.  Create an environment where people support each other where needed. Pay attention to what’s going on in the lives of your employees (without being intrusive).  If they are going through a challenging time at home, look for ways to offer them flexibility in their schedule while still getting the work done.  Ask them for their ideas and find out about their dreams and goals for their career within your organization.  Create a safe environment for feedback and input. Offer opportunities for professional development through continuing education or training programs.
5. E = EXPRESS gratitude. Let your employees know that you appreciate them and their contributions at work.  What gets recognized gets repeated, so make sure that you are specific in your praise.  Instead of just saying, “Great job,” let me know exactly they did that was great.  Verbal recognition costs nothing in terms of time or money. Written appreciation gives your team members tangible proof of how much you appreciate what they do.  When you let your staff know that they matter, you will matter to them.
In business as in life, a SMILE goes a long way.

As Founder of Grategy, Lisa Ryan works with organizations to create stronger employee and customer engagement, retention and satisfaction.  Her proven gratitude strategies (Grategies) lead to increased productivity, passion and profits. She is the author of six books, and co-stars in two documentaries: the award-winning: “The Keeper of the Keys,” and “The Gratitude Experiment.”   To learn more, visit


Comments (2)

  • Al Smith says:

    Fantastic Lisa. Thank you. I love acronyms (CARE… duh) I sincerely hope that leaders read and put this into practice. Start the day with a SMILE.
    Take CARE and keep doing your thing. Love it.

  • Hillar says:

    There is another way that employers can engage and help their employees but it is one that requires prejudices to be put aside. As a corporate chaplain I come along side employees in their time of need, both at work and at home. It is not through proselytizing or preaching but simply through caring and a listening ear. Employees of all faith groups and those of no faith welcome this but the issue is often employers who don’t see the potential ROI. Happy, healthy employees will always increase production and profitability.

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